Pulau Ubin Tree Trail



Pulau Ubin Tree Trail
A Guide to
Pulau Ubin Tree Trail
This walking trail provides an “off the beaten track”
experience across Pulau Ubin, a tiny island off the
northeastern coast of Singapore and a delightful
retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
This island is home to Singapore’s last villages (or
kampungs) as well as Chek Jawa Wetlands, a unique
nature area housing some of Singapore's richest
coastal and intertidal ecosystems.
Experience Pulau Ubin’s rustic atmosphere and
get a good insight of village life as you embark
on this well-shaded trail. This trail, which starts in
front of the Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub, takes you
to old coconut and rubber plantations, the house
of the late village head of Pulau Ubin and several
interesting trees.
This walking trail ends at the viewing jetty outside
House No.1 (Chek Jawa Visitor Centre), a charming
Tudor-style cottage with a fireplace that has been
restored and designated a Conservation Building.
From the jetty, view Singapore’s only two mangrove
trees listed in the Heritage Tree Register of
Singapore. Turn around to get a picturesque view of
House No.1. Linger at the jetty for a glimpse of Pulau
Sekudu (Frog Island) and sweeping views of the sea.
Trees of our Garden City:
Enhancing Singapore’s Liveability
Trees play an important role in our Garden
City. Apart from softening and beautifying
our cityscape, they provide numerous
environmental benefits. Not only do they
offer a welcome respite from the tropical
heat and glare, they help alleviate the
heat island effect by removing excess
carbon and air pollutants. They also
prevent soil erosion and reduce storm
water run-off. Trees also serve a variety
of ecological functions including being
a natural habitat and source of food for
wildlife. To a large extent, trees improve
our emotional well-being by helping us
feel more connected to nature and the
city we live in.
A Guide to
Pulau Ubin Tree Trail
How to get to Pulau Ubin
Take a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal
($2.50 one-way and an extra $2 if you have a
bicycle with you). Boats will leave when there
are 12 passengers but you can also opt to pay
the difference for the boat to leave immediately.
Bumboats run from sunrise to sunset.
1 2
Malayan Banyan
Oil Palm
Malay House
Jambu bol
Attap Palm
Common Pulai
Village Head's
A Guide to
Pulau Ubin Tree Trail
Malayan Banyan (Ficus microcarpa)
The Malayan Banyan is an evergreen tree and
its figs provide a valuable source of food for
birds. It is also a good choice for a bonsai plant
as it can thrive in a wide range of conditions. As
a testament to this, it is no wonder that you can
often spot them growing from small crevices in
drains or walls of old buildings.
This Malayan Banyan provides a prominent
landmark for where Jalan Ubin meets
Jalan Jelutong.
Candlenut, Buah keras (Aleurites moluccana)
This handsome evergreen tree can grow to about
20m and has a round, spreading crown that
provides excellent shade. It is easily recognised
for its silvery-white appearance when new foliage
appears, which makes this tree a good choice for
ornamental planting. In fact, the scientific name
Aleurites means ‘floury’ in Greek, referring to
the dusty-white appearance of young leaves
and buds.
that are the source of commercial cocoa and
cocoa butter. While cocoa is grown primarily for
chocolate production, the edible pulp is often
consumed in the tropics.
This tree was planted by villagers living on the island.
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
A large tree that can grow up to 30m, the Jackfruit
bears the largest tree-borne fruit in the world. The
average fruit size is around 30 to 60cm long and
about 20 to 30cm wide.
This tree is native to Peninsular Malaysia and
is commonly found growing in kampungs. It is
grown for its fruits that have green, knobbly skin
with several seeds containing yellow, bananaflavoured flesh. The fruit has a unique taste and
emits a pungent smell when ripe. The other name
for Jackfruit is Nangka. The unripe jackfruit can
also be cooked as a culinary dish in coconut cream
called "lemak nangka".
This is a tree that is often planted in kampungs.
Almost all parts of the tree has a use; the fruits, leaves,
bark, sap, wood and roots are used as medicine, oil
for illumination, food, dyes and construction.
Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)
This small tree (6 to 9m tall) is native to the
central and western Amazon region but is now
cultivated throughout the humid tropics.
The fruits grow on the trunk and contain seeds
Banana (Musa spp.)
The Banana is commonly found throughout the
tropics; it is planted for its fleshy finger-like fruit, which
has been a staple of human diet for centuries.
Apart from its fruit, the Banana has many other
uses. Banana flowers and the tender inner pith of
the stem are eaten as a vegetable. Its leaves are
used to flavour and wrap food, and the fibre is
used in textiles.
From a botanical perspective, a banana is a giant
herb and not a tree, as it does not produce wood.
In fact, it is the largest flowering herbaceous plant
in the world.
A Guide to
Pulau Ubin Tree Trail
Durian (Durio zibethinus)
Malay House
Durian is known as the "King of fruits" and some
may find its smell overpowering.
A traditional Malay kampung house is usually
a timber-framed structure on stilts that rest
on stone blocks. This house is situated in the
low-lying area, so the stilts protect the house
from floods. The floors and walls are made from
wooden planks. The roof is thatched using palm
Durian trees can grow up to more than 40m tall
and can be recognised by its leaves that have
coppery undersides. Young trees begin to fruit
around seven years of age and the fruits take
about three months to develop. The fruit will
fall to the ground only when it is ripe. When left
undisturbed, it will split open into five pieces. This
gives animals easy access to the flesh and seeds.
These animals then help disperse the seeds.
Village Head’s House
This quaint blue house (located opposite Belatok
Hut) belongs to the late village head of Pulau
Ubin, who lived to a ripe old age of 102 years. His
son and family now live in this house. You can buy
cold drinks here and view the many interesting
old black and white photographs that hang on the
outer wall of the house. Do stop by to say ‘hello’!
Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis)
Oil Palms can grow up to 20m tall. Oil is extracted
from the pulp of the fruit to produce edible palm
oil. Oil is also extracted from the kernel of the fruit
to produce palm kernel oil, which is used in the
manufacturing of food and soap. The name Elaeis
is derived from the Greek word for oil, elaion.
This house shows a more updated design that
incorporates a zinc roof and an iron grille door,
while still maintaining the wooden stilts and walls.
Rubber Plantation
While resting at Murai Hut, look behind the hut and
you will see remnants of an old rubber plantation.
A fast-growing tree that reaches a height of 40m
in its native forest habitat, the Rubber Tree has
a straight trunk with greyish-green bark. It has
compound leaves with three leaflets that are dark
green above and lighter green beneath.
Rubber trees are usually planted in neat rows
to facilitate the easy movement of the rubber
tappers, who would remove a thin layer of bark in
a downward spiral along the trunk. Cups would
be attached at the base of the cuts. Rubber trees
will drip latex for about four hours until the latex
coagulates naturally at the tapping cut.
A Guide to
Pulau Ubin Tree Trail
Jambu bol (Syzygium malaccense)
Perepat (Sonneratia alba)
A native to our region, Jambu bol can grow up
to 20m in height and is recognised by bright red
fruits with waxy skin. The crunchy fruits are edible
and have a mildly sweet flavour.
From House No.1, walk out to the jetty for a good
view of these two large Perepat trees that are
located on the farthest point of the mudflats.
Attap Palm or Nipah Palm (Nypa fruticans)
The Attap Palm is one of the few palms that grow
well in mangrove conditions. It is commonly
found growing in dense clusters with their fronds
growing out from the soft mud. The leaves are
used for roof thatching in "attap houses".
While it may look trunkless, the trunk of the Attap
Palm actually lies horizontally underground. The
fruits group together to form a large brown ball
and break off into individual fruits when ripe.
Attap Chee is the name given to the translucent
flesh inside the fruit. It is processed and used in
local desserts such as ice kacang.
Common Pulai (Alstonia angustiloba)
The Common Pulai is a very tall tree (up to 40m tall)
found in this region. It is easily recognisable from
its pagoda-shaped branching pattern and simple
leaves that are arranged in whorls. This tree belongs
to the family of Apocynaceae, which are identified
by the presence of white latex in the stems.
This Heritage Tree (35m height, 6.4m girth) is hard
to miss as you walk along the trail. It stands out
among the canopy and can be seen from
a distance.
To survive in the oxygen-poor mud, Perepat trees
send out pneumatophores (breathing roots) that
stick out of the mud, allowing the exchange of
gases and helping the trees to ‘breathe’.
To combat the high saline conditions, excess salt
is restored in old leaves, which are later shed.
Depending on the tide, these two trees spend a
fair amount of time half-submerged in seawater, a
testament to the resilience of trees.
About 178 trees in Singapore have been given
the Heritage Tree status under the Singapore’s
Heritage Tree Scheme, as part of efforts to
promote the conservation of mature trees in
Singapore. These two Perepat trees are the only
two mangrove trees listed in the Heritage Tree
Register of Singapore.
We hope you have enjoyed your walk. To get
up close and personal with more trees,
embark on the Trees of the Fort trail at Fort
Canning Park.
The Common Pulai
Seashore nutmeg